Google+ YA Romantics: The New YA Love Geometry

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The New YA Love Geometry

YA Romantics Love Geometry

I never got that fired up over the whole YA Love Triangle Issue. Until recently, when a bookish love triangle got me really aggravated. 

I found the perfect person to vent to: my blogger friend Lauren from Love Is Not a Triangle.
She and I decided to do posts about the issue. You can find Lauren's post, A Peek Inside the Love Triangle Rule Book, here.

My post is going to look at a New YA Love Geometry.

Maybe it's time to figure out some other geometric shapes that don't cause so much angst to either the readers or the characters. I mean, my friend Jen from The Starry Eyed Revue makes a great point about love triangles: they put too much power into the hands of one character. And often, that character abuses that power by a) toying with the emotions of the other two or b) bouncing from one person to another or c) just being annoying by complaining about how hard it is to have two people in love with you. How confusing.

Yes, a literary love triangle is suspenseful ... until it's resolved. Then about half of the readers end up heartbroken and angry. 

If we can't just have a couple in love with each other, here is another possibility:


The good thing about a love rectangle is that there are four people involved, so theoretically everyone could get paired up. 

 Take this Love Rectangle from the Juliet Immortal and Romeo Redeemed books by Stacey Jay:


Romeo and Juliet were together, then they broke up. Badly. Romeo wanted to make things right, but Juliet fell in love with Ben. When she was in Ariel's body. But in theory, there were four people, if that pesky body sharing thing can be worked out.  But you can see how symmetrical the flow of power is in this formation.

Here's another example, from Vampire Academy.

In the Vampire Academy books, this looked like a love triangle, with Rose in love with Dimitri and Adrian in love with Rose. Then something terrible happens to Dimitri and it looks like Rose might be with Adrian.  But wait ... a fourth character is lurking in the sidelines. Nicely played, Richelle Mead!You can see that this one has more of a potential for trouble as most of the power flows to and from Rose.



Here's a third example from The Diviners by Libba Bray.


I don't think this one is going to end as well. There's a slight romantic spoiler if you haven't read the book, but this rectangle is still unresolved.


Evie, our main character has a best friend Mabel, who adores Jericho from afar. Sam seems to adore Evie from afar. Evie knows that Mabel is crazy about Jericho and appears to be falling for him. Not cool, Evie! In this rectangle, most of the power flows to and from Evie.

In science fiction, we get all kinds of love geometry possibilities:


In What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang, we have two girls in the same body. So, yeah, a complicated love life right there! Addie and Eva share a body (that's what my = sign indicates) and Ryan and Devon also share a body. Eva is attracted to Ryan.   This could get messy! Or, it could work out great. We'll see...



Tell me, what do you think about Love Geometry? Are you a fan of these tortured multi-person relationships? Lauren and I hope to do more posts on the issue!

It's a busy month -- I'm reviewing Perfect Scoundrels later this morning!

35 comments:

  1. Great post! I really like the love geometry in Bloodlines, but I have yet to read any of the other books!

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  2. Brilliant post! Seriously...I'm kinda falling out of love with romances that involve more than two people. Also, is the triangle you were referring to the most recent one that's giving a lot of people problems? 'Cause I'd like to see where you ended up with that one. :P And that rectangle in What's Left of Me kind of freaks me out. But honestly, I don't think Mabel is much of a player in the Diviners rectangle...though I am more of a fan of the Evie/Sam match-up, so maybe it'll work out for her. :)

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    1. Yep, that's the one. While I could accept the outcome, I felt it was a well-done triangle for two books and then began to be ALL the things I dislike about love triangles. Sob!

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  3. I really like your "math" here. I have actually been warming up to love triangles providing I don't find the center too annoying (like Juliet's angst in The Madman's Daughter). I still prefer a romance that I guess would be classified as a line since it would just be two people but I also like the rectangle so that everyone can be paired off and happy.

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    1. I'm thinking I like the other shapes better, since the triangle so often consists of a heroine going from one guy to the other!

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  4. Yes to exactly what you said up there, the triangle is good for suspense, but then you have half the readers upset when a certain one is picked when it is all over. I don't mind reading them, BUT I do wish if things were going to go in one direction, then I need the last book to give me a lot of them together, so I can be satisfied the right choice was made.

    I also appreciate triangles that kinda start off in book 1. If book 2 presents a whole new boy and love interest, I can get upset and put off to reading it. (To me, Warner was never a love interest possibility in Shatter Me so I've been putting off Unravel Me because of what is to come) It worked for me in Pandemonium, but I think it's because I had no idea about Julian before I read it. The benefit of reading the ARC before most people reviewed it I think.

    Overall, I am just not sure of my thoughts on love triangles. I love them and hate them. It all comes down to the last book and how it wraps up I guess.

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    1. I agree -- I think it is possible to do them well, and yet, even those that I think were fairly well-done still leave me uncomfortable. They're always messy in a way that makes me sad.

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  5. Great post! I don't really like love triangles, I understand why authors include them but find it really irritating because I don't know who she will end up with and I don't want to be disappointed. I try to stay away from them but sometimes I can't help but read them if the story sounds too good to pass up.
    World of Books

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    1. A way to add suspense, maybe? Or they think that female readers like the idea of two guys after them. IDK, to me that sounds too stressful.

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  6. Your love geometry is giving me a headache! LOL Too much going on. I hate love triangles, rectangles, octagons and any other crap they got going on because 90% of the time I still won't end up happy. I'm still laughing at how upset you are because for me it was a perfect end to the love triangle! So nice to finally be on the winning side!

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    1. LOL, sorry about the headache.
      I know you get VERY worked up about love triangles.

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  7. Haha!! Love this post. I agree that sometimes books get a little crazy with all the love interests!!

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  8. Great post Jen! I'm not a huge fan of triangles (though VERY curious about Boundless because it's one of the few triangles that I think is a real triangle). I love your rectangle idea though! That's a much better way to go about multiple love interests!

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    1. No comment on Boundless.
      And not sure how I feel about love rectangles, hexagons, etc, but it somehow feels more realistic. Even if that seems crazy.

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  9. I totally love this post!!! yes... sometimes, I just want the love to develop naturally and be threatened by something other than another person!!! But I love your love Geometry, especially for The Diviners. I can't wait to see how that one plays out. Also.... when I sat down to write the first draft of my WIP, I was adamant that I would not have a love triangle... AND IT JUST HAPPENED. o.O. I don't even know how.

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  10. Yes, please! I rather dislike love triangles and I love the rectangles much better! Some triangles work, but so many seem forced or not easily resolved. There can still be plenty of drama with other relationships, even the ones with just two involved. Great idea and post!

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    1. I'm still thinking about the rectangle and if it works, but I'm very open to new possibilities.

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  11. I do like the idea that in a rectangle, everyone could be happy. Though they also make me nervous, because as you said, there's even more potential for confusion and heartbreak. Basically, any love shape beyond TWO PEOPLE makes me automatically wary.

    This is random but every time I see that cover of WHAT'S LEFT OF ME, I think that the cover model looks like Rihanna.

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  12. I can not stand triangles. As long as they all end up with someone I'm ok, but otherwise no ty. The book has to be insanely good for me to bypass the geometry and read it anyway.

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  13. This is such a fun post--and I LOATHE math:)

    Love triangles don't bother me as much as they do Lauren, it's not the kiss of death for me. But I DO agree with Jen that the person who has the choice to make definitely holds all the power, and often abuses it. I think that when that happens (Rose and Adrian are a perfect example) I tend to get much more worked up and exasperated with the one who is abusing the power and treating one or both parties unfairly than I do with the triangle in general.

    What a fun post! Checking out Lauren's next:)

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  14. I love this post. Love triangles don't drive me insane all the time, but they can definitely get on my last nerve when they're not done right. But I have to admit, I do love reading about these other sorts of love triangles. The Host by Stephenie Meyer contains probably my favorite love rectangle ever. It's impossibly complicated, what with four people and only three bodies, but also very simplistic at the same time. And in that scenario, the triangle is done so perfectly that it adds so much to the story instea of leaving me wanting to rip my hair out from frustration and annoyance.

    Jesse @ Pretty In Fiction

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    1. I need to read the Host. Honestly, the triangle/rectangle with two people in one body kind of makes my head want to explode, but SO many people have told me that they love that book.... I'm reading it this summer.

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  15. There is certainly more of a possibility that everyone is happy with a love rectangle.

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  16. I'm pretty sick of love triangles, but it seems like love rectangles is the way to go now! XD You should read Iced by Karen Marie Moning. It's a different kind of love triangle- three guys going after one girl. I might have found it annoying if it weren't for the fact that its so amusing to read about! :)

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  17. I love this! I can usually figure out who the last man standing is going to be in a love triangle or rectangle, even if I don't agree with it. I also think the triangle thing is a bit the fault of us readers, with our Team Him or Team Other Dude, heck, we can make options for romances that even the author never conceived. In books like Hunger Games, there really wasn't a huge triangle, and it wasn't the focus of the books, but the fandom certainly made a big deal out of it-- I'm guilty of this too. So, are we actually tired of love triangles, or are we begging for them secretly?

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  18. I recently watched the movie Savages. Most screwed up love triangle ever. Two best friends sharing a girl...so weird!

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  19. Yes..I hate triangles..what a great post...hmm rectangles sound better..lol

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